Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ham, Cheese, and Veggie Tortilla Pinwheels

 I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas! We are still in the holiday season so I thought I'd share yummy Ham and Cheese Tortilla Pinwheels, (or roll-ups), with you . I made these several times before Christmas for various parties and gatherings. Even though these type of recipes date back to the 80's or so, they are still delicious, and festive little appetizers when sliced and plated, or they can be cut in half and served for lunches or carried in lunch boxes. You can use any type of deli meats and cheeses. For these I also added leaf lettuce and red bell pepper that had been cut in thin strips. Stack each ingredient evenly across the tortillas, and then roll each one up as tightly as possible to keep stuff from falling out. Then enjoy these pretty, festive roll-ups whatever the occasion. Here's my method.
Ham, Cheese and Veggie Tortilla Pinwheels (or roll-ups!)
From Lynda's Recipe Box
Note: you can mix herbs into 8 ounces of plain cream cheese to use, or you may purchased the herbed cream cheese from your local store. Deli meats should be thinly sliced or even shaved. Count your meat and cheese slices so you can evenly divide it among the 8 tortillas. Makes 8 rolls.

1 package of burrito sized tortillas- I used the spinach flavor tortillas. They add a nice touch of color.
8 ounces softened cream cheese, mixed with about 1 tablespoons fresh, chopped green onion or chives, and 1 tbls. parsley. Or to save time, buy the herbed cream cheese from your market.
1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham, or other meat of choice,
1/2 pound sliced Provolone cheese, or cheddar or other cheese of choice
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
leaf lettuce, washed and large ribs cut out

To assemble Tortilla Rolls:
Lay tortillas out on a flat surface. With a knife, spread the softened cream cheese mixture thinly over the tortillas. The cream cheese is going to act like a glue to hold everything together.
Now at the end closest to you, start the layering. Lay out a couple of slices of ham that are folded in half, next cover with cheese, then the lettuce and ending with some sliced bell pepper. These ingredients will be stacked on top of each other, hopefully evenly all the way across.
Now, start rolling the tortilla and holding firmly to the ingredients as you roll, until each tortilla is rolled all the way. When rolled all the way, the cream cheese should hold it together. Wrap each rolled tortilla in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight. To serve, remove the plastic wrap and cut the ends off of each tortilla rolls. Cut the roll into 8 equal slices and place on a serving tray. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Potato-Fennel Gratin(from Ina Garten)

Mmmm, I have to tell you that Ina's Potato-Fennel Gratin is amazing! My husband and I would order this from a restaurant if it was on the menu, that's how much we love it! This side dish has so much flavor from the addition of fennel, onion and cheese to the potatoes, that it is positively addictive. I don't know about you but I just can't resist creamy, cheesy potato dishes! This is a wonderful dish anytime and perfect for any holiday dinner or buffet.
Only the bulb of the fennel is used. I saved the stalks and added to some soup later on. The fennel bulb is cut in half and the core then removed.
Then it is sliced very thin, and the potatoes also. Ina's recipe calls for Gruyere cheese, but I subbed sharp white cheddar cheese and it is delicious. I hope you'll give Potato-Fennel Gratin a try. Here's the recipe.
Potato-Fennel Gratin
Adapted from Ina Garten
(I made half a recipe when I took these pictures, but I'm providing the whole recipe. Leftovers reheat very well.)


2 small fennel bulbs ( I use 1 large bulb for the whole recipe)
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 pounds (about 4 large potatoes) I used Yukon gold
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 cups sharp white cheddar cheese (Ina uses Gruyere)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease the inside of a 10 cup baking dish. I used a 9x13 inch.

Remove the stalks from the fennel and cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Remove the cores and then slice them thinly, making about 4 cups. Sauté the fennel and sliced onions in the olive oil and butter over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until tender. Remove from heat.

Peel the potatoes, then slice thinly with a mandolin or by hand. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes with 2 cups of cream, 2 cups of cheese, and the salt and pepper. Add the cooked fennel and onion and mix well.

Pour the potato mixture into the prepared baking dish. Press the mixture down and smooth the potato mixture evenly in the pan. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons of cream and 1/2 cup cheese and sprinkle on top. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the potatoes are very tender and the top is browned  and bubbly. Remove from oven and let set 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pineapple Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (AKA Mexican Fruit Cake)

I decided it was time to pull this Pineapple Sheet Cake from the archives and give it better picture. This is a very moist, delicious cake that was passed to me by my mother. My mom was not a pie person, so therefore during the holidays she would make cakes and cookies, but rarely a pie. This cake is a favorite of my husband , and it's always a hit wherever I take it. It's a perfect cake for a pot-luck, or a family dinner, or even to take to work. Even though the cake itself contains no fat, this is a very moist cake as long as you make it several hours before it is to be served. The crushed pineapple in the cake makes it very moist, and it just gets better every day that you have it. I hope you will enjoy it!
Pineapple Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
From Lynda's Recipe Box, and my mother
(Note: the only pineapple I've found that DOES NOT work is from Aldi. It just didn't contain enough juice.)

Ingredients for cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs, beaten
1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple with juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cups chopped nuts, I usually use pecans or walnuts -optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease either a 9x13 inch pan or a 10x15 inch jelly roll pan. In a large bowl add the flour, sugar and soda and mix. Add all of the remaining ingredients and mix well. Bake for about 35-40 minutes for a 9x13 inch pan. (A 10x15 pan will take about 20-30 minutes). Remove from oven and cool. Can frost while cake is just warm.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 - 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, (1 stick), softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
about 3/4 cup chopped nuts, optional, but I always use them. Makes the cake extremely good.

Spread frosting evenly over cake and top with pecans or walnuts. Let it set for several hours before cutting so the pineapple will moisten the cake. Bet you can't eat just one bite- enjoy!